US Department of Labor recovers $608K in wages, liquidated damages after Mountain Mike’s Pizza restaurants’ franchisee denied employees overtime
SAN JOSE, CA – Denying their workers overtime pay when required has had costly consequences for the operators of six northern California pizza franchise locations from whom the U.S. Department of Labor has recovered a total of $608,272 in back wages and liquidated damages for 33 workers.
Investigators with the department’s Wage and Hour Division determined Mountain Mike’s Pizza locations in Pittsburg, Hercules, Pinole, Fairfield, Martinez and Danville – operated by Sumeet Singh and Mandeep Saini – failed to pay proper overtime to the affected workers. The division found the employers failed to combine hours employees worked at multiple locations, leading to additional overtime violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act.
Division investigators also found the employer allowed minor-aged workers to deliver pizzas and work outside of the hours allowed by federal child labor laws. Singh and Saini paid $13,058 in penalties to address the child labor violations.
“Sumeet Singh and Mandeep Saini required their employees to work extremely long hours but ignored their obligations to pay overtime, and to protect the well-being minor-aged workers,” said Wage and Hour Division District Director Susana Blanco in San Jose, California. “Employers whose pay practices violate the law face costly repayment of wages and damages. They may also find it more difficult to retain or recruit workers than their competitors whose actions show they respect workers’ rights and pay them their full wages.”
Founded in 1978, Mountain Mike’s Pizza is a franchise system with more than 200 franchised locations in California, Oregon, Nevada and Utah.
In fiscal years 2020 and 2021, the Wage and Hour Division’s Western region found child labor violations in more than 163 food service employers investigated, resulting in more than $760,000 in penalties.
As historic shifts in the nation’s workforce continue, employers are finding it more and more difficult to retain and recruit people with the wages they offer. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that 958,000 food and accommodation services workers left their positions in December 2021.
In fiscal year 2021, the Wage and Hour Division conducted 4,237 investigations in the food service industry, recovering $34.7 million in back wages for more than 29,000 employees nationwide.
Learn more about the division, including its search tool if you are owed back wages collected by the division. For confidential compliance assistance about how to comply with the law, call the agency’s toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). Help ensure hours worked and pay are accurate by downloading the department’s Android Timesheet App for free.